Posts Tagged ‘manila

10
Feb
14

MANILA | NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES REVISITED

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I don’t know when did the National Museum of the Philippines start offering FREE ADMISSION EVERY SUNDAY that seduced me effortlessly to revisit. What’s definite is the fact that Philippine art, history, culture and heritage are now made more accessible to everyone regardless of economic status. Apparently, Filipinos, particularly those living within the vicinity of the museum in Manila, have no more excuse or logical reason not to pay the National Museum a visit, at least on a Sunday when entrance fees are waived. During weekdays, current rates are PhP 150 for adults, PhP 120 for senior citizens and even discounted price for students. Goodness, if you can avail of a venti cup of Frappuccino from Starbucks with a steeper cost, why not spend it to appreciate timeless paintings and handsome sculptures? Unless you don’t value what needs to be treasured.

Pardon me, but it’s such a shame for Filipinos who have seen the Modern Monument exhibit in Museum of Modern Art in New York City, or perhaps, those Pinoys who have been to Paris to visit La Jaconde or the Mona Lisa in Louvre Museum but have never set foot in National Museum to appreciate Una Bulaqueña by Juan Luna or his larger than life, Spoliarium.

Last Sunday, 09 February 2014 was my third visit to the National Museum. Frankly, I don’t have vivid recall of how our educational field trip during my Elementary school years went at that place, but I documented my second time in Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas on this same blog in 2009 (blog post : http://docgelo.com/2009/05/18/manila-explored-part-2/). Although I cringed a bit after going through that blog entry once more, as blurred photos uploaded were taken only using my Nokia phone with 2 megapixels back then, I’m proud now that I visited the museum again and surprisingly, the staff at the counter instructed me to bring all my gadgets, wallet and other valuables, plus camera with me and leave only my backpack to claim prior exit.

With refurbished galleries and new acquisitions, I was impressed with all the positive changes. Unlike my past visits, taking photos is allowed now except for commercial purposes, but the use of flash photography is still prohibited (no problem with me).  Looking back, I could say that through the years, my blogging and my amateur photography have improved incidentally, in parallel with the National Museum.

The Old House of Representatives Session Hall, also known as, “The Hall of Masters” at the ground floor immediately after the counter where visitors must sign (and pay during weekdays) upon entry, a new art installation-in-progress greets everyone. It’s a lovely masterpiece called, Angel, from the Philippine National Artist for Sculpture, Guillermo Tolentino.

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Details of  “Angel” (reinforced concrete, 2.9 meters in height) by Guillermo Tolentino.

Inside the hall are two most significant works of Filipino artists in our history – Spoliarium of Juan Luna and El Asesinator Del Gobernador Bustamante by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.

If there’s one reason to visit the National Museum, it’s to see and admire Juan Luna’s Spoliarium. This incredible Filipino treasure won the first gold medal (out of three) in the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884 in Madrid.
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Details of  “Spoliarium” by Juan Luna, Oil on poplar, 400 cm × 700 cm (160 in × 280 in), 1884.

Spoliarium is more than a painting of dying gladiators being dragged off the arena; it’s the symbol of Filipino social, moral and political life according to no less than Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Philippines’ National Hero.

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Details of  “El Asesinator Del Gobernador Bustamante” by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo (1853-1913).

“…the fact remains that when Luna and Felix Resurrection Hidalgo won the top awards in the Madrid Exposition of 1884, they proved to the world that indios could, despite their supposed barbarian race, paint better than the Spaniards who colonized them.”  ~Ambeth R. Ocampo, “Rizal Without the Overcoat” 2000″

Almost all galleries’ doors have noteworthy knobs…

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Little details matter. I liked those door knobs. NM of course stands for National Museum.

As I arrived after 3:30PM and upon learning that the museum closes at 5, I regret the fact that I didn’t have much time to go through and absorb everything. Bear in mind that I only visited the National Art Gallery of the National Museum and passed up going to the other building (yes, your admission includes the entry to the other building) that houses Museum of the Filipino People (San Diego exhibit, Five Centuries of Maritime Trade Before the Arrival of the West, The Origin, Archaeological Treasures, and The Filipinos and Their Rich Cultural Heritage).  I became selective with the art galleries and only photographed what I fancy.

“Gallery I : Luis I. Ablaza Hall. Colonial Philippine religious art of the 17th to the 19th centuries, prominent among which is a retablo from the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Dimiao, Bohol – a National Cultural Treasure – together with a selection of carved religious images (santos), reliefs and paintings.”

Don’t you just love the retro-feel of those black and white tiles against those red-orange walls? I do! They make the wooden displays stand out.

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Saint Francis and Santo Domingo by unknown artists, on wood, undated.

“Gallery III : Philippine art of the academic and romantic period, specifically of the last three decades of the 19th century, featuring specially Juan Luna and other key contemporaries….”

I call the Gallery III that houses Luna’s masterpieces, the green room.

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Next to Spoliarium, here are a few of Juan Luna’s works that I adore.
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Details of “Portrait of a Lady” by Juan Luna, Oil on wood, undated.

“Una Bulaqueña” of Juan Luna was the inspiration behind one of the Filipino musical plays that I’ve watched, “Alikabok” staged in mid-90s at Music Museum, where local singer-actress, Rachel Alejandro dubbed the role of Bising.

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Details of “Una Bulaqueña, by Juan Luna, Oil on canvass, 1895.

I see brilliant minds with every stroke per painting. Filipino blood lines are geniuses!

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“Normandie” by Juan Luna, Oil on canvass, undated.

“Gallery IV : Fundacion Santiago Hall. The works of 19th century Filipino sculptors, notably, Isabelo Tampico y Lacandola, Guillermo Tolentino and others…”

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“Gallery V : Works by the National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, including four original sculptures and one fine drawing, View of Gendarmenmarkt, from his 1886 sojourn in Berlin….”

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“Rizal the Reformist” by Martino A. Abellana, Oil on painting, 1960.
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“El Idillio de un Azotea” by Roman Faustino, Oil on canvass, 1945.

“Gallery VI : The late contemporaries and artistic successors of the generation of Luna and Hidalgo who were active in the late Spanish colonial period and on into the American occupation and before the Second World War, including Fabian  de la Rosa, Jorge Pineda, Irineo Miranda, Fernando Amorsolo, Pablo Amorsolo and numerous artists…..”

Despite its being incomplete, this Amorsolo painting won my heart…

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“Portrait of a Lady (Unfinished)” by Fernando Amorsolo, Oil on canvass, undated.

Other masterpieces that I loved inside Gallery VI…

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“Tausug Princess” by Ireneo Miranda, Oil on canvass, 1951.

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“Portrait of a Lady” by Ireneo Miranda, Oil on canvass, 1952.

Philippine History drawn on canvasses are featured in Gallery IX…

“Gallery IX : The works of the great Philippine modernists and later masters featuring important works by Victorio Edades, Diosdado Lorenzo, Vicente Manansala, Carlos V. Francisco, Hernando R. Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, Ang Kiukok, Nena Saguil, Jose Joya, Adbulmari Imao, Ben Cabrera and various artists who were instrumental in setting bold directions for Philippine art from the 1930s into the later decades of the twentieth century.”

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Planting of the First Cross by Vicente S. Manansala, Oil on canvass, 1965.

And suddenly, college days spent attending our Philippine History class resurfaced.
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First Mass at Limasawa by Carlos V. Francisco, Oil on canvass, 1965.

The next textured painting spoke to me.  I fell in love at first sight.

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Naiad by Jose Joya, Oil on wood, 1964.

“Gallery XII SPPC Hall : New acquisitions and new loans are displayed here.”

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Portrait of Cheng Ban Lee and Madame So Boan Ty by Frederico Aguilar Alcuaz, Oil on canvass, 1959.

“Gallery XII Security Bank Hall : Guillermo Tolentino, National Artist for Sculpture, whose prolific career spanned the 1920s to the 1970s, dominated the Filipino sculpture during his lifetime and in the decades  beyond, particularly in the field of portraiture and human forms. His work here is presented in collaboration with the Tolentino family and various private patrons and institutional partners of the National Museum.”

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The Sculptor (Portrait of Guillermo E. Tolentino) by Crispin V. Lopez, Oil on canvass, 1948.

Those were just a few that I really liked inside National Art Gallery in National Museum of the Philippines. If you’re in Manila, particularly those Filipinos who have not been to National Museum yet, pay it a visit and I guarantee you, you’ll be extra-grateful that you’re born Filipino and you’ll absolutely grow more appreciation within.
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*this is NOT a sponsored post.

National Museum of the Philippines | Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila, the Philippines | website & contact details : www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

31
Jan
14

INTRAMUROS, MANILA | SAN AGUSTIN MUSEUM

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I’ve been going to San Agustin Church within the historic and cobblestone streets of Intramuros, Manila since my wonder years. My parents used to take me and my siblings to 30 churches every Holy Week back then, and their list included San Agustin Church. But it took more than 30 years before I set foot in its museum.

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One sunny afternoon, I had an urge to revisit  Quiapo and headed to Intramuros with the intent to experience San Agustin Museum. It was my first time to see the church with its old peach paint removed. I wasted no time and asked one of the bystanders of the museum’s location, and to my surprise, the entrance was just a few steps from the right side of the main church door. I know no reason why my parents didn’t bring us inside San Agustin Museum; I haven’t inquired but it’s no longer important for the time already came for me to discover and explore the museum myself.

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With only PhP 100 current admission rate for adult (PhP 80 for senior citizens, and almost half the cost for students with IDs),  every centavo was worth it!

I don’t know about you but I know some people don’t entertain the idea of going to museum. Perhaps, they’re not fascinated with history, heritage, arts and things of the past, or totally not interested with some places without life. Unlike them, I am easily drawn to anything significant; or anything of my interest. Probably, it’s really to each his own.

Immediately after the admission counter and the turnstile, a huge lifeless bell greeted me. It was simply labeled with a laminated paper that states, “A 3,400 kilogram bell, taken down in 1927 from the belfry of the San Agustin Church damaged by the earthquake of 1863.”

I was warned that photography without flash is only permitted at the hallways and not inside exhibit rooms. Good enough! I obliged of course.

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Every step I took seemed a stroll back in time. Isn’t that amazing? (surprising? exciting? hehehe!)

Most of the items in the hallway at the ground floor are for sale; from paintings to wooden sculptures, most have tags with fixed prices for those collectors and patrons of the arts.
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The concrete staircase and its ceiling, en route to the second level almost took my breath away! I literally uttered, “Wow!” several times and left me in awe for few minutes. It was like setting foot inside a century-old dungeon or a castle, or felt like I was ascending the steps of Hogwarts with Professor Dumbledore, Hagrid and Snape about to greet me with magical spells! Very theatrical and cinematic!
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Surreal!

Then I found the displays and stained glass windows at the second level even more amazing!
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From the scale model of San Agustin Church, to small brass replica of galleon ships, paintings, priest vestments and whatnot, to the restricted noise of young students who were having an educational field trip with their teacher, I took everything in as a visual feast! Every corner appeared picturesque to me!
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But the highlight of my visit to San Agustin Museum was admiring the choir chamber and the church’s ceiling to my heart’s delight! I found logical reason for my one hundred Philippine pesos entrance fee for I have not seen the ceiling’s painting this up close! Wow! Wow! Wow!

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The intricate carvings on the solid choir seats was beyond wonderful! Imagine, these were done creatively decades ago!

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Behold. The ceiling of San Agustin Church done in trompe l’oeil.

A quick glance at Wiki, trompe l’oeil (French for deceive the eye) defined as “an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that depicted objects exist in three dimensions.”
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Beautiful, isn’t it?

I just hope and pray that proper restoration shall be done to those dilapidated areas.

Other than my appreciation for the ceiling, the pipe organ also a caught my eyes and my lens.

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From the choir loft, I completely understand why San Agustin Church remains to be a favorite venue of Sacrament of Matrimony.

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Of all the paintings inside the exhibit halls and corridors, I figured out my favorite. It’s called, The Family of the Virgin Mary, 234.3 cm x 173.3cm (92″ x 68″), Oil on Canvass, tagged as 19th century, Araneta collection.
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More must-see-display on the ground floor…

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There’s a door from the museum that leads to the church itself besides the church’s main facade.
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My two hours inside the San Agustin Museum may not be as entertaining as watching a blockbuster comedy, love story, action or fantasy films, but my appreciation of my heritage, religion, timeless treasures of my country was heightened tremendously.

“In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It was named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.” ~wiki.

San Agustin Church & San Agustin Museum | General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila | website : http://www.sanagustinchurch.org/

>><<

17
Jan
14

QUIAPO, MANILA | POSTCARDS FROM PLAZA MIRANDA

Most people equate Quiapo as the heart of Manila, and that includes me. Although I am not a Manileño,  my love affair with Quiapo in the Philippines’ big city dates back long before I started studying my Pre-Med course in one of the oldest institutions, Far Eastern University in 1993, that’s located a stone’s throw away from Quiapo.  I have been familiar with Quiapo and the streets of Manila, some of its alleys and main roads since my early childhood years when my parents began bringing me and my siblings to 30 churches every Holy Week.  No, I’m not telling you that I grew up religious, but I am implying that I have been keeping an itchy feet to go to Manila every now and then.  And if I will narrow down my favorite places there, it surely includes Intramuros, Chinatown and Divisoria, and of course, Quiapo!

In my humble attempt to share with you my fascination with Quiapo, I tried my best to capture its colors on my amateur-photos. Let me know if you think any of these are, ehem *clears throat*,  postcard-worthy.

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Wishing Candles.

Red for love and offering for family. White for purity. Blue for peace of mind. Green for money. Violet for material wealth. Yellow for good spirit. Pink for love and health. Orange for brightness. Brown for good fortune. Peach for studies. Black for conscience. Rainbow-colored candles (except black), or one of each colors per bundle are sold for PhP 20 and it comes with a prayer written in Tagalog, with instruction to utter your wish 3x. Again, these are Wishing Candles. And apparently, prayers are different from wishes; but aren’t they eye-candy?

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Tarot Cards, Fortune Telling and Pyschic Powers.

Located in front of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, famously known as Quiapo Church is the town square called, Plaza Miranda. Thriving within Plaza Miranda are various peddlers, vendors and stall owners that sell variety of things from religious articles and images, flowers, vegetables and fruits. One of the most interesting groups of people who occupy  prominent corners in Plaza Miranda are the Psychics and Fortune Tellers. Even more noteworthy to me are those devotees and faithfuls who, after praying and hearing Holy Masses, go and sit under the huge and colorful umbrellas of these fortune tellers, to listen to their so called prophecies, predictions and warnings, *no pun intended*.  At a current rate of PhP 100 per tarot card reading for about 20-30 minutes, clients could hear fortune teller’s readings about their luck, money, love life, work and whatnot.

I think most of them who studied tarot card reading and interpretation would mention possibilities that may or may not happen in the client’s life. I certainly don’t believe in fortune telling. Do you? Whether you believe it or not, truth remains that business is good for those fortune tellers. And did I have my fun share of listening to tarot card reading in Quiapo? Go ahead and guess. Read my mind!
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Rosaries.

I bought a rosary, the wooden brown one at the far left of the photo above at PhP 20.
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Amulets, Talismans, Charms?

According to Powerfortunes.com, “the word talisman comes from the Arabic word, tilsam which itself comes from the Greek word telos which means to consecrate or to initiate into the mysteries.  A talisman is defined as an object that has apparently magical or miraculous effects and that can avert misfortune and bring good fortune when acquired. An amulet, originated from the Latin word, amuletum, is essentially another term for talisman. Amulets are lucky charms that have magical inscriptions and which has been consecrated through incantation.”

When I asked the male vendor of the stall where I took the photo of those pendant-looking amulets, of its use and function and where they source it, I received a candid yet seemingly truthful response. “Ang suppliers po namin ay taga-Batangas at Cavite. Ang gamit po nyan ay naayon at alam ng bumibili” (“Our suppliers come from the provinces of Batangas and Cavite. People who buy those things certainly know how to use them”).

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Roasted Peanuts. Yum!

There’s always something to munch at Plaza Miranda. I bought a small pack of roasted and garlicky peanuts for PhP 10.

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Ginger and Chilies.

I told you, Plaza Miranda in Quiapo is so colorful, isn’t it?
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Smoked Fish, or locally called Tinapa.

My mom asked me to buy Tinapa or smoked fish. I bought two piles of smoked fish! Delicious!
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Bouquets.

I think flowers are appropriate within the vicinity of a church.
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Dried Shrimps or locally called, Hibe.  Dried and Salted Fish or locally called, Tuyo.  Yum!

From Plaza Miranda all the way to Quinta Market, the side streets are loaded with stalls of fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, dried, fresh, cured, marinated. Name it.

I also bought a PhP 50-pack of  Tuyo, or salted dried fish and a kilogram of tomatoes.
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A stall of vegetables and fruits.

My love and fascination for Quiapo Church, Plaza Miranda and all their colors will remain the same, perhaps even after my legs and knees become weak to drag my feet to go to Manila.
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Wishing candles. Again. You love the colors, don’t you? I do!

>><<

22
Dec
13

WHERE MY FEET BROUGHT ME IN 2013

It takes a formidable spirit to endure 2013.  From the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan, earthquake and armed conflict in our country, The Philippines, to my personal adversities, we could either dwell on tragedy and misery or choose to rise, become better, and move on. The results will always depend on our decisions.

Yet in so many ways, I consider 2013 as one of my most blessed years. There are so much reasons to celebrate and be grateful for! I was privileged to set foot in few countries that brought me priceless memories and worthwhile experiences. I was fortunate to be invited to some of the luxurious hotels and restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore and Manila. The year was also kind in providing this blog, recognition, online features and citations.

With this photo-essay, allow me to relive and share once more, where my feet took me in 2013. Everything in 2013 reminded me that every moment counts, every step matters. I’m counting blessings.

JANUARY 2013 : CHIANG MAI,  THAILAND

Ringed Beauty, published on July/August 2012 Lonely Planet Magazine Asia
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kids in chiang mai
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FEBRUARY 2013 : LANGKAWI, KEDAH  &  PENANG, MALAYSIA 

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LANGKAWI, KEDAH, MALAYSIA : Our Days in Cenang & Tengah Beaches, Langkawi

Also in February 2013, I was able to blog a Mini-Travel-Guide to George Town, Penang…

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FEBRUARY 2013 : Mini Guide to George Town, Penang : A UNESCO World Heritage Site

MARCH  2013 : KUALA LUMPUR  &  PENANG, MALAYSIA

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MARCH 2013 : Charity Work with Gabby & Malaysian Bloggers in 3 Orphanages in Penang

BEST EXPAT BLOG AWARD MITBCA 2013
MARCH 2013 : 2013 Ministry of Tourism Malaysia’s Best Expat Blog Award Winner

APRIL 2013  :  MALACCA, MALAYSIA  &  SINGAPORE

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APRIL 2013 : Random Memories, Happy Thoughts from Melaka

MAY 2013 : SINGAPORE  &  PENANG, MALAYSIA

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MAY 2013 : Singapore River Safari

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MAY 2013 : River Safari, Night Safari & Singapore Flyer :  Courtesy of iVenture Card, Singapore
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MAY 2013 :  Chowrasta Road & Market

JUNE 2013 : MALACCA, MALAYSIA  &  SINGAPORE

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JUNE 2013 :  Mods Cafe Melaka
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JUNE 2013 : Singapore Night Safari

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JUNE 2013 : Singapore Flyer & More

AUGUST 2013 :  KATHMANDU,  BHAKTAPUR,  PATAN, NAGARKOT,  NEPAL

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*Nepal Blog Series includes :

SEPTEMBER 2013 :  MANILA,  PHILIPPINES

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SEPTEMBER 2013  : Back in Manila

OCTOBER 2013 :  PENANG, MALAYSIA

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george town, penang, malaysia
may 9 2013 743pm thursday
OCTOBER 2013 : How Do You Say Goodbye To Malaysia

NOVEMBER 2013 : SINGAPORE

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NOVEMBER 2013 :  Gardens By The Bay Revisited Singapore

DECEMBER 2013 : MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES

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DECEMBER : 2013 Grand Marian Procession, Intramuros, Manila

SPONSORED STAYCATIONS  2013 : PENANG, SINGAPORE, MALACCA, KUALA LUMPUR

I am also thankful to all people who invited me and my family to complimentary hotel accomodation in Malaysia and Singapore this year. I cannot  be grateful enough! Many thanks to :

  • Eastin Hotel Penang, Malaysia
  • Ibis Hotel on Bencoolen, Singapore
  • Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang, Malaysia
  • Quayside Hotel & Halia Inc. Restaurant, Malacca, Malaysia
  • The Elizabeth Hotel, Singapore
  • Orchard Parade Hotel, Singapore
  • Somerset Serviced Residences, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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MARCH 2013 : Eastin Hotel Penang
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MAY 2013 : Singapore : Ibis Hotel on Bencoolen
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MAY 2013 : Heritage Wing of E&O Hotel Penang

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MAY 2013 : Corner Suite, Victory Annexe Wing, E&O Hotel Penang

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JUNE 2013 : Quayside Hotel & Halia Restaurant Coffee Bar, Malacca

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OCTOBER 2013 : Elizabeth Hotel, Singapore

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OCTOBER 2013 : Orchard Parade Hotel Singapore
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OCTOBER 2013 : Somerset Serviced Residence, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

COMPLIMENTARY FOOD INDULGENCE : PENANG, SINGAPORE, MANILA

I’m also grateful to the people who sent invitations from restaurants and a few good friends in Penang, Singapore and Manila. Thank you very much to :

  • Macalister Mansion, Penang
  • Sarkies, Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang
  • 1885, Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang
  • Dinner Treat by Dennis in Hakumai & Omakase, Antoinette, Singapore.
  • Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
  • Beringer Wines and Cirkulo Restaurant, Makati City
  • Silk Thai Road, BGC, Taguig City
  • Burger Company, Quezon City
  • Dinner Treats from my Malaysian families in Penang – Mr. Michael & Jasmine, and Mr. Loh & family
  • Lunch & Dinner Treat by great friends, Rob & LG
  • Harina Artisan Bakery & Cafe, Quezon City
  • Sentro 1771, Serendra, BGC, Taguig City

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Torchon of Foie Gras, Crumble, Gastrique Pearls
MARCH 2013 : Macalister Mansion : Tobreck Vertical Wine Dinner
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MARCH 2013 : Sarkies’ Seafood Buffet Dinner Extravaganza, E&O Hotel Penang
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MAY 2013 : 1885 : Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang’s Fine Dining Restaurant

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MAY 2013 :  Singapore : Hakumai Sushi & Omakase | Antoinette French Desserts

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JULY 2013 : Wine & Dine Buffet Dinner at Sarkies, E&O Hotel, Penang
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JULY 2013 : Ramadan Buffet at Eastin Hotel Penang

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OCTOBER 2013 : Farewell Dinner at Sarkies,E&O Hotel Penang
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NOVEMBER 2013 : Two Dinners Hosted by My Malaysian Families

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NOVEMBER 2013 : Lunch & Dinner Treats from Great Friends of 20 Years & Counting
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NOVEMBER 2013 : Beringer Wines at Cirkulo Restaurant, Makati City

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NOVEMBER 2013 : Finest Thai Food at Silk Road, BGC
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NOVEMBER 2013 : Burger Company, Quezon City

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DECEMBER 2013 : Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe, Quezon City

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DECEMBER 2013 : Sentro 1771 Serendra, BGC

  • Special thanks goes out to Malaysia Airlines for sponsoring our family’s PEN-KUL-KTM roundtrip tickets!

Apart from the Best Expat Blog Award from Ministry of Tourism Malaysia for two consecutive years, 2013 also brought me a few more citations and priceless things that boost my self-esteem. Again, many thanks to those few people who believe in this blog.

PINOY TRAVEL BLOGGERS
And fortunately, for the second time, one of the photos I took in Chiang Mai, Thailand was published in 4 pages of the esteemed travel magazine, Lonely Planet Asia last  July 2013.

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JULY 2013 : My Travel Photo Published on 4 Pages of Lonely Planet Asia Magazine

Looking back, no superlatives will be appropriate to describe the places I’ve been to and the people I’ve met. No volume of photos will ever be enough to express the good and bad memories of the journeys I took. Everything and everyone provided me life lessons generously.

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Twenty thirteen has been like no other, yet through it all, one thing remains the same. I opt not to dwell in negative things and be more hopeful for tomorrow. It’s incredibly ecstatic to wonder where my feet will take me in the coming years.

  May we all have a Blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

>><<

PTB Blog Carnival

*This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival

for the month of December 2013 entitled,

“The Pinoy Travel Bloggers Closing the Curtains on 2013: Love, Learn and Living”

hosted by Brenna Bustamante of

The Philippine Travelogue.

>><<

05
Dec
13

INTRAMUROS, MANILA | 2013 GRAND MARIAN PROCESSION

“I love you when you bow in your mosque,

kneel in your temple,

pray in your church.

For you and I are sons of religion,

and it is the spirit.”

~ Khalil Gibran

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Around 3PM, I rode the MRT train from Santolan Station all the way to its last stop in Recto, Manila. Strolled my way to Quiapo, then took a jeepney ride to Pier and alighted near the Department of Immigration building. The road was completely blocked to private and public vehicles and only people were allowed to walk through the historic walled city. Few steps further, I found myself standing in front of the restored Ayuntamiento, among the thick volume of crowd, waiting for the 100 carrozas to float by.  Although I spent countless evenings of Holy Wednesdays, Good Fridays and dawns of Easter Sundays watching Catholic saint-processions with my family in Marikina City and considering I used to be a part of an all-boys-choir in Marikina Catholic School, who used to sing in First Friday Masses, Living Rosary and other religious activities in school during my growing up years,  attending the longest procession devoted to the Blessed Virgin entirely, was something new to me.  It was my first time to attend and witness the Grand Marian Procession in Intramuros, Manila that, correct me if I’m wrong, is an annual event held every first Sunday of December.

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Ayuntamiento

01 December 2013, Sunday, Intramuros, Manila. It was drizzling when I arrived within the vicinity of Manila Cathedral but the mild downpour miraculously stopped around 5PM, so timely for the start of the Grand Marian Procession for this year. Armed with my long black umbrella, I took a few shots of the first few carrozas on queue. Most of them came from nearby parishes in Metro Manila, to as far as Northern, Central and Southern Luzon, with few that came from provinces in the South.
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La Familia De La Virgen Maria.

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The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth.

ANS_8217
Angel Gabriel on the Annunciation tableu.

ANS_8219
Annunciation

ANS_8224
Nuestra Senora De La O from Our Lady’s Nativity Parish, Pangil, Laguna.

I saw groups of people with gadgets that could take photos swarming around one of the carrozas that was literally filled with colorful and attractive flowers; mostly Ecuadorean roses in various hues. Not long after, I joined the bystanders and faithfuls who were in awe at San Jose and his float. It was the grandest I’ve seen!
ANS_8234
ANS_8233
ANS_8235
ANS_8228
ANS_8240
Roses in various colors & other blooms, mirrors, faux trees & crystals adorned San Jose’s carroza.

Within 4 hours of watching the procession, at times I whispered prayers to the Lord and to His Blessed Mother, whose many images passed me by, I was totally amazed and proud of the Filipino faith. Each Marian icon was accompanied and ushered by parish priest/s, sacristans, some with nuns, marching bands, a few came with Boy scouts, folk dancers and young and old ones who were dressed in their Sunday’s best and traditional Filipino attires, volume of parishioners and Marian devotees from the town or city the image came from.

Every expression of Filipino devotion to the Virgin Mary was unique. Some paraded in solemnity, complete with recitation of the Holy Rosary; some were barefooted, others attended in uniform shirts; while some devotees were amazingly cheerful, vocal and loud in professing their love to the Virgin Mary, with singing, waving of handkerchiefs, dancing, particularly the people from Pakil, Laguna who ushered Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba, people from Candaba, Pampanga who brought Nuestra Senora de la Merced and the people from San Mateo, Rizal who accompanied Nuestra Senora de Aranzazu.

Of all the Marian images I saw, I was moved and grounded as a Filipino when the carroza of Ina Poon Bato from Zambales passed by and I saw it was accompanied by Aetas, our indigenous brothers and sisters.

ANS_8241
ANS_8245
ANS_8256
San Roque.

Image of St. Andrew or locally known as San Andres was brought in from Catanduanes, Bicol.

ANS_8259
ANS_8260
ANS_8261
St. Andrew.

Then that incredibly beautiful carroza of St. Joseph or San Jose passed by.
ANS_8266
ANS_8267
St. Joseph.

ANS_8270
La Familia De La Virgen Maria.

ANS_8271
ANS_8273
Annunciation.

ANS_8276
Mary and Joseph.

ANS_8293
Nuestra Senora De Navidad.

ANS_8303
ANS_8304

From Cainta, Rizal, Mahal Na Ina Ng Kaliwanagan or the Our Lady of Light.

ANS_8312
ANS_8315
Other than flowers, the parishioners from Cainta used suman, or rice cakes in the carroza.Wow!

People from all ages and walks of life participated. We were all prayerful under one sky.
ANS_8316
ANS_8319
ANS_8324
Mary, Help of Christians.

ANS_8329
Our Lady of Penafrancia, Naga, Bicol.

ANS_8334
La Angustia De Maria La Santisima Nazarena.

Something new to me was the image of Mother Mary as Our Lady of Providence/Our Lady of China for the Chinese Catholic community. It was my first time to see such gracious image.

ANS_8338
Our Lady of Providence/Our Lady of China.
ANS_8342
Nuestra Senora La Desatadora De Nundos. Our Lady Untier of Knots.

ANS_8344
ANS_8347
Roses and annato/achiote or locally called in the Philippines as atsuete adorned the carroza.

ANS_8349
ANS_8350
Rosa Mistica. One of the few images that was carried via wooden poles on shoulders.

ANS_8358
Women who ushered their image in traditional Filipino attire.

ANS_8369
ANS_8379

La Pieta…

ANS_8393
ANS_8395
La Pieta.

As mentioned, one of the images of the Blessed Mother that paraded with numerous devotees and parishioners was the Nuestra Senora De Aranzazu from San Mateo, Rizal. The energy of the people clapping, singing, waving their flags and hankerchiefs, cheering for the Blessed Mother was beyond inspiring!

ANS_8396
ANS_8403
ANS_8409
ANS_8412
Nuestra Senora De Aranzazu from San Mateo, Rizal.

ANS_8441ANS_8444
Nuestra Senora De La Santisima Trinidad.

ANS_8474
ANS_8503
ANS_8507
ANS_8512
ANS_8515
ANS_8519
Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba from Saint Peter of Alcantara Parish, Pakil, Laguna.

ANS_8535
Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

ANS_8553ANS_8556
ANS_8559
ANS_8566
Our Lady of Montserrat.
ANS_8600
ANS_8603ANS_8614
ANS_8620
ANS_8634
ANS_8628
Our Lady of Czestochowa, The Black Madonna.
ANS_8641
Mary, The Lady of All Nations.
ANS_8646
ANS_8650
ANS_8651
ANS_8656
ANS_8657
Our Lady of Banneux.

Hail to Ina Poon Bato from Zambales! Accompanied by our indigenous brothers and sisters, the Aetas.
ANS_8672
ANS_8669
Ina Poon Bato from Zambales. 

ANS_8677
ANS_8684
ANS_8713
ANS_8718
Mary, Mirror of Justice from Comembo, Makati City.
ANS_8725
ANS_8728
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

ANS_8734
ANS_8735
ANS_8738
ANS_8745
ANS_8753
ANS_8758
Birhen ng Lujan.

*There were 100 carrozas in this Grand Marian Procession and please forgive me if this blog post only features less than half of them, a few without names of Our Lady.  I’m so sorry as I tried my best to capture the signages from each carroza, however, I only did as much for 4 hours (5PM-9PM) of standing and taking amateur photos for me to share on this site.  I’ll appreciate if readers could identify those Marian images on this post without labels.  Also, some of the photos turned out to be blurred that I chose not to post. The other Marian images were :

  • Our Lady of Caysasay, Taal, Batangas,
  • Nuestra Senora de la Merced, Candaba, Pampanga,
  • Our Lady of Fatima, Valenzuela City,
  • Nuestra Senora de Barangay,
  • Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario de Malabon,
  • Our Lady of Piat,
  • La Naval de Manila,
  • Our Lady of Orani,
  • Nuestra Senora de la Soledad de Nueva Ecija,
  • Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Cebu,
  • and many more that I failed to list down and capture. Again, my apologies.

For four hours, my focus from challenges of daily living was deviated to something more meaningful; something peaceful. This religious activity truly defined what Filipino Marian devotion is to me.

On December 8, Happy Feast Day of the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception!

Please pray for us.

>><<

20
Nov
13

HOME IS WHERE THE MOST DELICIOUS FOOD IS!

max's dessert sampler
Dessert Sampler.  Believe me, it’s more toothsome than it looks!

That enticing sampler platter came with sweet portions of :

  • Ube Creme Decadence (smooth, light and creamy eggless custard filled with purple yam or ube jam and topped by ube cake crumbs),
  • Buco Pandan (Coconut and pandan strips, green jelly cubes or gulaman and tapioca).
  • Leche Flan (Creme caramel),
  • Cream Brownie Ala Mode topped with vanilla ice cream.

max's chopsuey
Chopsuey.

max's chicken sisig
Chicken Sisig.

max's kare kare
Kare-kare (Beef or Ox tail Stew in Peanut Sauce).

max's fried chicken
Spring Fried Chicken.

max's adobo fried rice
Adobo Fried Rice.

my family
Daddy, my brother, Mac, Mommy and me.

When the Overseas Filipino Worker in me came home last month, the happiest parts of my body were my tongue and my stomach! Although we cooked and ate Filipino dishes at our apartment in Penang, nothing beats eating everything you want in the Philippines!

As you may know, Filipino restaurants almost don’t exist in Penang, so you cannot blame me if I had so much craving for authentic Pinoy favorites.  That craving was satisfied a few days after I got home from Malaysia when I had weekend lunch with my parents, and one of my brothers in a Filipino restaurant that’s not only considered a family favorite but also default choice on rare occasions that we go out.

We simply indulged over Chopsuey, Sizzling Chicken Sisig, Kare-kare which is on top of my list of favorites, a signature Spring Fried Chicken, and my brother, Mac suggested we have to sample Adobo Fried Rice (fried rice with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, tomatoes and salted egg slices) that I found delicious too, although I thought it’s a bit heavy when paired with those viands, thus we also ordered cups of plain rice. Carbo-loading, I know! It was a hearty lunch just before we glue our eyes watching the movie, Thor, The Dark World.

If you’re from the Philippines too, I bet you’re so familiar with my family’s default choice of food place! Can you name it? Do we have the same favorite? What are your favorite Pinoy dishes?

>><<

15
Nov
13

A WEEK AFTER THE STORM

After being home for 3 weeks from Penang, one of my former Malaysian students sent me a private message on facebook, and asked of our condition in the Philippines. He mentioned, they learned from CNN that our country was ravaged by the recent typhoon. Another Malaysian student expressed her concern about me and our family regarding the same matter. I felt blessed and thankful.

A week after Typhoon Haiyan (locally known in The Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda) struck our country and left most Filipinos in devastated state, I felt the urge to bring my feet back to the heart of Manila. I found myself with knees bent, inside the Catholic church dedicated to the patron saint of the hopeless and despaired.

Novena was uttered by the faithfuls; gospel was read and a brief homily was delivered by the priest. It almost moved me to tears, as I am grateful that my family and I, despite having difficulties, are still alive, safe, and healthy. I fervently asked for forgiveness, blessings and mercy, neither for my own sake, nor for my family alone, but more so, for those Filipinos who have been suffering from losses, physical and emotional traumas caused by the terrifying storm.

I lit 3 candles, said my prayers again and strolled my way out of the Malacanang vicinity. Barely an hour with surprisingly less traffic, I reached Malate Church via 2 jeepney rides. I went inside and talked to my Creator once more. Imagine a prodigal sinner coming home to His father.  Seriously, like a battery-with-full-bars, I felt extremely recharged! So with my spirit up and hopes high, I went out of the church. And everything became lighter.

manila bay sunset november 14, 2013 docgelo 529pm
Manila Bay, Philippines. 11/14/2013, Thursday, 5:29PM.

While I am one with the many who so appreciate the incredible financial contributions and generous humanitarian assistance being rendered by other nations to the Filipino people, I’m also grateful for the efforts exerted and donations given by our own countrymen.

Positive things must not end.  There must be no room for negative words at this time and beyond, as it would not offer any solution but add further insult to the injuries.

Life’s challenges taught me so well to be more faithful rather than lose hope. Better to put two palms together in prayer rather than to point fingers and blame others.

“The Lord is a refuge of the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9

>><<




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